Shift 20 - nib's desire to reflect the whole community

Jason Pollock
By Jason Pollock | 14 November 2023
Chris Donald.

Ten of Australia’s most well known brands are coming together in support of disability representation with the Unignorable Adbreak, swapping out key scenes in their advertising to include a person with disability.

The Unignorable Adbreak is a campaign by the Shift 20 Initiative, led by the Dylan Alcott Foundation and focused on increasing disability representation, inclusion and accessibility in Australian advertising and media.

AdNews is speaking to marketing leaders at some of the companies taking part in the initiative, finding out why they wanted to get involved, the response to the ads, what the industry needs to do better and more.

Chris Donald, Head of Marketing and Digital at nib

What made you want to get involved with the Shift 20 Initiative?

In June, Dylan was appointed as nib’s brand ambassador and Chief Motivation Officer, and in the lead up to his appointment, we were approached by Dylan and his team to join the Shift 20 Initiative. We thought it was a great alignment with our own business diversity and inclusion goals, and is a strategic fit following nib’s recent entry into the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) with nib Thrive.

Normalising seeing and hearing people with disability on-screen and in advertising is important. And, we can’t underplay the positive benefits representation has on health and wellbeing, as well as other benefits, like job opportunities and inclusion in the workplace. 

Were you already working with talent with a disability (either in front of or behind the camera) or was this a first for your brand?

Over the years, we’ve made a conscious effort to use imagery in our advertising that is reflective of our diverse population, including, people of all abilities, sexual orientation, gender, race and ethnicity. The Shift 20 Initiative, however, has made it clear that we still have a way to go. Plans are already underway to include more talent with disability in our marketing materials, including planned content with our ambassador and Chief Motivation Officer, Dylan Alcott. We’ll also continue to feature Rae, the actress who featured in our ad campaign for the Shift 20 launch, in our TV ad rotation throughout the rest of the year.  

How did you decide which of your TVCs to change?

At the time, we were producing three separate TVCs, however we wanted to select the one which would feature Rae in a role which was most empowering for her. It’s a script with a single character, so all the screentime is dedicated to her performance, and we felt that best aligned with the goals of the Shift 20 initiative.

Have you received any feedback from the public in response to the ads?

We’ve received some heartfelt feedback from people within our organisation, the general public and our advertising peers. It’s all been really positive feedback, which should be cause for confidence for other advertisers to join the Shift 20 movement.

What do you hope other CMOs and marketing/advertising leaders take away from this initiative?

I hope that professionals will recognise that it’s our responsibility as leaders in the marketing and advertising space to produce content that represents the whole of community, and for the very people who purchase our products and engage with our brand. Over the next five years, I hope to see more brands come onboard to Shift 20, collaborate and help drive a real shift in how people with disability are represented in advertising.

What do you think the advertising and marketing industries need to do moving forward to ensure that people with a disability are better represented?

Being a part of the Shift 20 initiative has been a fantastic way to learn from Dylan’s team and the various brands involved about how to increase disability visibility in our advertising. The big takeaway was how important it is to collaborate, listen and learn from those with lived experience to ensure people with disability are appropriately represented.

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